Religious Education's position in the curriculum is to give space and priority for children and young people to make sense of their own and other people's deepest beliefs and values by which they will live their future lives.
- Professor Brian Gates, Chair of the Religious Education Council of England & Wales
It doesn’t teach us what to think but how to think.
- Twynham student, 21st Century CE
The Religious Education Department at The Grange School follows the guidance laid down by the BCP Agreed Syllabus.
We encourage our students to reflect upon their own religious or non-religious beliefs and learn about and from others. We want our students to be inspired and challenged and as such Philosophy for Children and questioning techniques are embedded in our lessons.
These strategies encourage our students to become independent and enthusiastic learners with transferable skills. Our schemes of work provide students with knowledge, skills and understanding of religious and non-religious world views.
Students study the six main world faiths, religious and non-religious world views and aspects of other principle philosophies and ways of life. Students study courses that provoke challenging questions about the ultimate purpose and meaning of life, beliefs about God, issues of right and wrong, social justice and what it means to be human. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of identity and belonging and we aim to enable them to flourish individually within their communities and act with personal responsibility as citizens.
Key Stage 3
In Year 7 students begin by investigating different responses to ideas about how God developed where they learn about the basic elements that form religion, where religions are practised, the golden rule, different expressions of faith as well as commonalities between religious and non-religious teachings and practices. As a result students learn to share their own thoughts and to have empathy and tolerance of the beliefs that are held by others. The next challenge that students face is an exploration of social justice through the study of distinctive characteristics of Sikhism and Christianity where students learn about the key beliefs and practices for each of these religions such as worship, concepts of God and the lives of religious figures as well as how beliefs influence the lives of believers. Students learn about equality, tolerance and respect through a Sikh perspective and then complete a comparative reflective task where students contrast the two religions. Students then study a unit on belief and the environment, which examines creation theories and the issue of stewardship. From the very start of this course students are encouraged to question and discuss issues. Students will investigate if the environment matters and how we should be caring for the environment. They will start to see what role they have as stewards to the environment. Students will regularly gain experience of extended and critical writing in Year 7 in preparation for these challenging elements as they progress through the spiral curriculum.
Students begin Year 8 with an exploration of beliefs about God, the environment, social justice, what happens when we die and why there is suffering through the study of the distinctive characteristics of Hinduism. Students learn about key beliefs and practices in relation to the key themes such as the concept of a polytheistic god, the scriptures, a comparison of Mandirs in India and the UK, society and the caste system as well as beliefs about death and the afterlife. Students explore key questions such as why do some people believe in life after death and what evidence there is for their beliefs. It will allow students to reflect on their own views.
The next challenge that students face is an exploration of the existence of God through the study of distinctive characteristics of Judaism and Islam where students learn about the key beliefs and practices for each of these religions such as beliefs about God and different denominational responses to belief and worship. Students study what it means to be a Jew in today’s world and the diversity of belief and practice within Judaism. Students study what it means to be a Muslim in Saudi Arabia and in Britain. Students will look at key Islamic teachings and appreciate the difficulties of following the faith in a non-Muslim country. We will explore stereotypical misconceptions, Jihad, Muslim women, Islamophobia and the role media has in influencing the public. This provides the foundation in the key Muslim beliefs required for the OCR GCSE RE course. Finally students will explore the concepts of rights and responsibilities from a religious and non-religious perspective. The unit looks at the issues of human rights which continue to be an issue in society today as well as how religious beliefs motivate the actions of key people such as Malala Yousufzai, Chico Mendes, Maria Cristina Gomez and Oscar Romero. A key part of this unit is for students to reflect on their own rights and responsibilities now and in the future and to consider the violations of rights in continents such as South America and Africa whilst exploring the work of different charities including Amnesty International and fair trade. Students will regularly gain experience of extended and critical writing in Year 8 in preparation for these challenging elements as they progress through the spiral curriculum.
In Year 9 students first take an in-depth look at distinctive characteristics of Buddhism and the Buddha’s teachings with students questioning and exploring the issue of suffering from the Buddhist perspective. They will look at the different types of suffering and the ways in which people react to suffering. Students will also complete comparative work on life as a Buddhist in India and the UK. We then study a unit which has links to the concepts of peace and justice, focusing on the concepts of suffering, responses to suffering and the Jewish response to the Holocaust. The next challenge that students face are ultimate questions over the existence of God as well as why there is suffering in the world. As a result students learn to share their own thoughts and then to tolerate the beliefs that are held by others. There is the opportunity for collaborative work with the History department within this scheme of work. Students then have the opportunity to explore the different lenses of religious and non-religious world views exploring a flavour of other world beliefs and secular philosophies such as Zoroastrianism and the Bahai traditions as well as opportunities to learn about psychology and sociology. This unit of work embraces challenges students’ understandings of global beliefs and practices with a focus on religious and non-religious world views and how these can influence society. Students finish their Key Stage 3 studies with a unit of work on philosophy and ethics; they have the opportunity to explore many different concepts surrounding the problem of evil, freewill, determinism, moral behaviour and altruism. Students will regularly gain experience of extended and critical writing in Year 9 in preparation for these challenging elements in Key Stage 4.